The major power outage that struck cities in the United States and Canada on Thursday serves as a graphic illustration of the need to reduce energy use. One way to save energy is through implementation of a building emergency energy use reduction plan, according toASHRAE.

"With increasing energy costs, capacity shortages and dwindling reserves, the need to reduce energy use is more important than ever," Lawrence Spielvogel, former chair of ASHRAE's Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, committee, said. "Much energy could be saved if building owners would prepare and follow an energy reduction plan and take a few simple energy-saving steps." ASHRAE first developed its guidance on emergency energy use reduction in buildings during the 1980s. Since that time, it has been included in periodic updates of the ASHRAE Handbook, Applications.

ASHRAE recommends that building owners and operators develop a building emergency energy use reduction plan. Development of a plan should include estimating the amount and type of energy savings, recording energy consumption and demand reduction information and reviewing the plan with local utility companies.

"The best plan is one that reduces building energy while still maintaining the best building environment under the circumstances," Spielvogel said.